The hamster wheel is not about the hamster. Sure pet stores tout the need for exercise and occupation, but who’s really entertained by the fur friend running in endless circles?
The ones who built the cage, I suspect. The wheel is in there, so those on the other side can clap. It’s a bit like a suburban coliseum.
Maybe that’s dramatic, but if having a furry friend, albeit a caged-against-its-will furry friend, were enough, why the wheel?
For the little cutie’s entertainment, Tracy. She needs something to do in the cage. Toys are fun.
What if it were gone? The wheel, I mean. What would hamsters do with their time if the things never existed? Would they lie down and rest? Would they weave the shavings of their cage, create a space of their own? Worse, would they try to escape?
The hamster could ignore the wheel, but she doesn’t. Fluffy is caged, and the wheel is there, so she spins. Maybe it’s a guilt thing. Perhaps she figures since the cage maker lined her jail with shavings and a water dispenser, the least she can do is run a few circles.
Some might say it’s in the hamster DNA to hop on that adorable little wheel and spin like the Dickens. Or that’s what hamsters are for, why they were put on the planet.
Interesting theory. I’m not a scientist, but I’m guessing released from the cage, hamsters would not search for a wheel. Instead, they would dance across rooftops. They would burrow into quiet corners. They would live and eat and sleep for themselves.
The wheel is there so they forget they’re caged. It’s there to keep them from wondering why they’re trapped on a hand-me-down dresser entertaining sticky fingers and a spoiled cat.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Can’t Sleep.
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I am all in on the hamsters dancing. Here’s to the people needing entertainment finding it elsewhere . . .
I suspect you are right on about the wheel, Tracy. Many of us got hamsters as pets in college, and set them up in our dorm rooms, wheel and all, not realizing they were nocturnal…until they started working out their caged frustrations at 2AM and ran non-stop until we were dragging out of bed, bleary-eyed, to get to 8:00 classes. Good thing they were cute! Ah, memories! Love this!
Hahaha. Are they really nocturnal? Wow, that makes it even crazier. Thanks, Barb.
Yes to all of this! We went through this phase and interestingly, after a few months, my son’s hamster stopped running on the wheel. Making a statement, I think.
Hahaha. A hamster making a statement. I love it.
Love this, Tracy. Food for thought. Sometimes I feel like a hamster, just spinning the wheel and not getting anywhere. ~nan.
Thank you, Nan. The wheel is real, right?
In my dotage, I have come to realize: everything’s a hamster wheel.
If only I had your brevity, Ron. Well said, my friend.